Colon Cancer Prevention

Is it possible to prevent Colon Cancer? Read what the medical community suggests for prevention methods in the condition center at


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How to Prevent Colon Cancer

General Guidelines

  • Eat a healthful diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Avoid obesity.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Use alcohol in moderation.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Diets that are high in fat (particularly fat from animal sources, such as meat) and low in fruits and vegetables increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Until recently, it was believed that a high- fiber diet , low-fat diet provided protection against colorectal cancer. However, recent research indicates that this type of diet, while healthful, may not provide the desired protective effect. Nevertheless, doctors continue to recommend a well-balanced, low-fat diet containing fruits and vegetables, as there are significant health benefits to this type of diet.

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Even moderate exercise (30 minutes per day) is beneficial.

Avoid Obesity

Overweight has been found to increase the risk of colorectal cancer, particularly when the weight is distributed in the waist, rather than on hips and thighs. Doctors recommend losing excess weight to reduce colorectal cancer risk.

Stop Smoking

To reduce your risk of colorectal cancer, stop smoking. Smokers are 30%-40% more likely to die of colorectal cancer than nonsmokers.

Use Alcohol in Moderation

Regular use of alcohol among smokers and people with high-fat diets appears to increase the risk of colorectal cancer. However, there does not seem to be an increased risk among people who drink alcohol, but eat diets high in fiber.

Know Your Genetic Predispositon to Colorectal Cancer

Colon cancer can run in families. If more than one close relative has developed colon cancer before age 60, you may be at increased risk. You may also be at risk if anyone in your family has been diagnosed with familial adenomaous polypolsis (FAP) or hereditary nonpolposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC).

If you have a strong family history of the disease, the best prevention is by having regular colonoscopies. Current guidelines suggest that the first screening should be at age 40 or at an age 10 years younger than the first family member who developed colon cancer, whichever is younger. After an initial colonoscopy, your physician will recommend repeat colonoscopies depending on the findings.

Be Aware of Conditions That Are Associated With Increased Risk of Colon Cancer

Some forms of colon cancer have a strong hereditary basis. If you have a strong family history of colon cancer or familial polyposis of the colon, you are at increased risk of colon cancer and may wish to explore how best to manage that risk with your physician. Likewise, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as Crohn's Disease , also increases risk. Good management of IBD is critical to avoiding the development of colon cancer.


Learn what Colon Cancer is
What It Is
Learn the basics of this condition. Find out what you're dealing with.
Colon Cancer Causes
What causes Colon Cancer? Learn what the medical community has uncovered.
Colon Cancer Risk Factors
Risk Factors
Are you at risk of getting Colon Cancer? Inside you'll find known risk factors for the condition.
Colon Cancer Diagnosis
How will your doctor diagnose you with this condition? Learn about the tests, process, and more.
Colon Cancer Symptoms
What are the Colon Cancer symptoms? Are you showing any? Learn more today.
Colon Cancer Complications
Can this condition lead to other health problems? Learn more about the known complications.

Take Action

Screening for Colon Cancer
Learn more about the specific tests or exams given by your doctor to screen for Colon Cancer.
Colon Cancer Medications
What medications offer relief or help with this condition? Are there side effects? Risks? Learn more.
Colon Cancer Prevention
How can you prevent Colon Cancer? Read what the medical community suggests for prevention methods.
Colon Cancer Treatment
Can this condition be treated? What Colon Cancer treatment options are available?
Colon Cancer Care
Learn more about the day to day care of this condition. Changes to your activity, diet, exercise, and more.
Colon Cancer Doctors
Find a Doctor
Do you need to contact a doctor about Colon Cancer? Select a location to find a specialist in your area.

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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright ©2014 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved. Source: EBSCO